7 Ways Client Service All Stars are Different: You Can Implement Them Now

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Each year, The BTI Client Service All-Stars manage to up their game. They know how to push client service beyond its current limits. They know how to break through not only the clutter of competition, but the self-imposed client service limits some attorneys face. Here are 7 examples of superior client service you can learn from, emulate, or just copy.

1. “She knows how to break complexity down into its simplest parts.”

All-Stars sit with their clients and point out where they need to make decisions and where they don’t. They help evaluate the risk with each decision and share their opinions. The Financial Times Uncertainty Index is at an all-time high—corporate counsel face more complexity than ever before—making those who can simplify complexity truly prized.

2. “She always helps me see the business risk and then helps me shape the message to management.”

Top executives never ask corporate counsel about legal risk—they ask about business risk and exposure. Probing executives want answers in these same terms. This is where the BTI Client All-Stars step in—they help articulate the business risk and the current state of exposure. They will test the message and help their client prepare a response.

3. “Any and every commitment is set in stone. He just delivers.”

Certainty in delivery eliminates one big worry for top legal decision makers. Clients want their deliverables so they can be reviewed, changed and thought about before passing them on. The BTI Client Service All-Stars always deliver when they say they will—if not earlier. This certainty is the difference between clients feeling fully prepared or not.

4. “He is down to earth and knows how to get things done.”

No over studying here. The BTI Client Service All-Stars use their experience, insight, analytical skills, and their client’s knowledge to get things done. Things don’t become ethereal and everything is geared towards decision making and action.

5. “She provides pointed and unequivocal advice.”

My recommendation is to be unequivocal—like The BTI Client Service All-Stars. The All-Stars play it straight. They voice their opinion, give their reasons why, and help their clients think things through to completion. These All-Stars are clear and confident. Clients appreciate the candor—even when clients don’t like the recommendations.

6. “It’s like she has a no mediocrity policy.”

Everything comes across uniformly excellent. Not only are thing on-time, they meet high quality standards and client expectations. Everything single email and deliverable from the All-Star’s client team meets these same standards as well. On the rare occasion they don’t, clients consider it an aberration—not a mistake.

7. “He is watching my back even when I am not.”

Providing a list of questions your client may be asked is impressive—providing the answers makes you a BTI Client Service All-Star. Clients tell BTI their All-Stars think about them every step of the way; what to be prepared for—curves balls which may arise, dry-running a presentation, and even shouldering the blame when they make a mistake.

Superior client service is all about finding ways to not only improve—but redefine how clients think about you and what you do for them. There are no structural barriers to become a BTI Client service All-Star—the barriers lie in how we think about what we can ultimately do for clients. Use this post to learn what the All-Stars do—and hopefully, you can use them to come up with new, better, and ground-breaking ideas.   

MBR

Corporate Counsel Single Out 335 Attorneys with the Best Client Service—By Name

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Corporate counsel point to 335 attorneys—by name—who deliver the best client service. These are the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2019.

Corporate legal decision makers single out each BTI Client Service All-Star—by name and in an unprompted manner. No attorney or firm can self-nominate, self-refer, nor pay to be included in this report. Clients have the final—and only—say.

This year’s BTI Client Service All-Stars lineup is robust. We see return performances as well as new All-Stars who make their debut. They are all bound by a single theme—the ability to stand above the rest. A few of note include:

We are particularly pleased to honor 1 BTI Client Service All-Star:

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H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman,
Sullivan & Cromwell

Mr. Cohen is named a BTI Client All-Star for an astonishing 16 years.

Only 17 attorneys manage to make the BTI Client Service All-Stars for more than 1 year. These individuals can read and stay ahead of client’s rising and ever-changing expectations:

4 Consecutive Years:        

Edward D. Herlihy, Partner
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

3 Consecutive Years:

Ron Chapman, Jr., Partner
Ogletree Deakins
A. Craig Cleland, Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins
Jonathan M. Moses, Partner
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

2 Consecutive Years:

Soumitra Deka, Counsel
Arnold & Porter
Daniel P. DiNapoli, Partner
Arnold & Porter
Marc O. Williams, Partner
Davis Polk
David E. De Lorenzi, Chair
Gibbons
Elizabeth A. Ising, Partner
Gibson Dunn
Brian J. Lane, Partner
Gibson Dunn
John W. Ursu, Attorney
Greene Espel



Monique A. Cenac, Partner
Jones Walker
Kelly C. Simoneaux, Partner
Jones Walker
Andrew S. Marovitz, Partner
Mayer Brown
Peter J. Covington, Partner
McGuireWoods
William P. Geraghty, Managing Partner
Shook, Hardy & Bacon
Sabastian V. Niles, Partner
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Super All-Stars—2 Attorneys Named by Multiple Clients This Year:

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William P. Aiken, Shareholder
Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel

Mark Filip, P.C., Partner
Kirkland & Ellis

Cultivating Firmwide Success:
16 firms manage to develop more BTI Client Service All-Stars than other law firms. Please congratulate the following firms with more than 5 All-Stars:

Learn exactly what these attorneys do different from everyone else to stand out with legal decision makers and earn a prestigious spot among the client service elite.

Join us as we congratulate each and every BTI Client Service All-Star for their unmatched client service delivery.

You can download the complimentary copy of the full report here.

MBR

Based on more than 350 interviews conducted between March 20, 2018 and February 8, 2019

How BTI Client Service All-Stars Outperform Everyone Else

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It’s not just one thing. It’s everything—the total package.

The BTI Client Service All-Stars deliver better client service than everyone else. Their secret? They care about all things and everything client facing. For the first time, clients note total client experience as one of the top traits separating a BTI Client Service All-Star from the rest. The All-Stars are delivering a superior end-to-end experience, and this will set the new standard moving forward.

Clients single out the following practices, protocols, behaviors, and interactions separating their BTI Client Service All-Star from all others: 

  • Using both formal and informal communications to keep a continuing stream of dialog around legal and non-legal issues.
  • Advising clients on budgets and deadlines—before clients ask.
  • Talking about how to improve their performance.
  • Cutting to the chase.
  • Posing and answering billing questions—before clients ask.
  • Knowing and behaving as though there is a continuing stream of needs and business.
  • Writing RFPs for clients who are forced to put work out to bid.
  • Helping with things outside of clients’ legal work (managing bosses, career counsel, helping with personal and family matters).
  • Making themselves accessible—even when they are not.
  • Communicating new insights in a manner which makes clients feel special, like they are the first to be learning.
  • Sharing new ideas, thoughts, and insights and asking clients for their opinions.
  • Invoicing on a timely basis.
  • Educating themselves about clients’ business on a frequent, regular, and systematic basis, and discussing this insight with clients. They also build this insight into their legal counsel.
  • Using assistants and associates to ensure clients know their whereabouts and the status of deliverables.
  • Designing and sharing back-up communication plans to manage communication when they are hard to reach.

Don’t worry about delivering on all these actions. Start with a few. Even a couple is fine. But start if you haven’t—and add more once you work these into your normal routine. The more you add the easier these behaviors become. And, they not only get easier—they create more billable hours and boost productivity. You become more efficient, create demand for you and your firm, and deliver world-class client service—the trifecta of developing new and continuing business.

MBR

(Based on BTI research conducted on a rolling basis between February 2017 and January 2018. BTI conducted more than 350 independent, individual interviews with top legal decision makers at large organizations with $1 billion or more in revenue.)

Clients Single Out 326 Attorneys for Superior Client Service

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Corporate counsel point to 335 attorneys—by name—who deliver the best client service. These are the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2019. Corporate legal decision makers single out each BTI Client Service All-Star—by name and in an unprompted manner. No attorney or firm can self-nominate, self-refer, nor pay to be included in this report. Clients have the final—and only—say.

This year’s BTI Client Service All-Stars lineup is robust. We see return performances as well as new All-Stars who make their debut. They are all bound by a single theme—the ability to stand above the rest. A few of note include:

We are particularly pleased to honor 1 BTI Client Service All-Star:

H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman
Sullivan & Cromwell

Mr. Cohen is named a BTI Client Service All-Star for an astonishing 16 years.

Only 17 attorneys manage to make The BTI Client Service All-Stars for more than 1 year. These individuals can read and stay ahead of client’s rising and ever-changing expectations:

5 Consecutive Years
Tracy E. Kern, Partner
Jones Walker
E. Joshua Rosenkranz, Partner
Orrick

4 Years
John T. Baecher, Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright
Stephen I. Glover, Partner
Gibson Dunn
Kirk T. May, Founding Shareholder
German May

3 Years
Edward D. Herlihy, Partner
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Gregg M. Lemley, Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins
Randi C. Lesnick, Partner
Jones Day
Jennifer R. Mewaldt, Partner
Faegre Baker Daniels

 2 Consecutive Years
Ron Chapman, Jr., Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins
A. Craig Cleland, Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins
Gregory Carl Cook, Partner
Balch & Bingham
William Donovan, Jr., Partner
Cooley
Paula J. Morency, Partner
Schiff Hardin
Jonathan M. Moses, Partner
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Richard R. Patch, Partner
Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass
Rick Richmond, Managing Partner, Los Angeles
Jenner & Block

 

Super All-Stars—Attorneys Named by Multiple Clients This Year:

Anthony Alden, Partner
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
Alan W. Beloff, Senior Counsel
Morgan Lewis
David K. Callahan, Partner
Latham & Watkins

Jonathan L. Corsico, Partner
Gibson Dunn
Sean C. Feller, Partner
Gibson Dunn
Frank Layson, Partner
DLA Piper

Cultivating Firmwide Success
Only 13 law firms are home to 5 or more BTI Client Service All-Stars. These firms account for 92 BTI Client Service All-Stars—suggesting a culture of client service permeates each organization. These 13 firms are:

Jones Day 16 – a new record
Gibson Dunn – 11
DLA Piper – 9
Arnold & Porter – 7
Latham & Watkins – 7
Ogletree Deakins – 6
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz – 6

Cooley – 5
Morgan Lewis – 5
Polsinelli – 5
Seyfarth Shaw - 5
Sullivan & Cromwell – 5
Williams & Connolly – 5

8 of these 13 law firms are also singled out by clients in the BTI Client Service A-Team 2018, appearing on this year’s BTI Client Service 30.

We congratulate each and every BTI Client Service All-Star. They continue to exceed clients’ ever-rising expectations, as measured by the most demanding clients. Click here to see every attorney we celebrate for client service excellence as measured by clients—the sole and final judge.

MBR

GCs Name 319 Attorneys Absolutely Best at Client Service

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319 attorneys from 160 law firms stand out as absolutely best at client service. Not just great—but head and shoulders above the rest as defined solely by clients. These are the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2017. This report celebrates these remarkable attorneys and their ability to rise above all others with the most demanding clients.

The class of 2017 BTI Client Service All-Stars is especially sought after by clients as their needs have shifted in response to the surge in complex work clients face. These attorneys take, and make, the time to understand their clients in-depth—their business, their objectives, and their goals. This elite group enjoys a clear cut advantage over the competition.

No attorney or firm can self-nominate, self-refer nor pay to be included. The only possible avenue for becoming a BTI Client Service All-Star is for corporate counsel to identify an attorney who stands out for delivering superior client service. BTI asked over 300 corporate counsel, in an unprompted manner, if there is an attorney who truly stands out as delivering the absolute best client service—by name. Only clients select and decide.

Highlights from the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2017 include:

All-Star MVPs—Named by Corporate Counsel in Consecutive Years

2 All-Stars have been named more than 5 consecutive years in a row:

  • Leslie A. Lanusse, Partner, Adams and Reese—7 years
  • Tom Clare, Partner, Clare Locke—5 years

In all, only 54 attorneys—a mere 17% of the All-Stars—are making repeat appearances. Corporate counsel applaud these MVPs for their skill and dedication to client service as client demands soar.

8 Super All-Stars Named in 2017

These 8 attorneys have been named by multiple clients this year:

  • William P. Aiken, Shareholder, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel
  • James B. Manley, Jr., Partner, Dentons
  • Stephen Glover, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  •  Randi C. Lesnick, Partner, Jones Day
  • Jeffrey J. Lederman, Partner, Joseph & Cohen
  • Deborah A. Gitomer, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright
  • Peter Teare, Partner, Reed Smith
  • William G. Thomas, Senior Partner, Reed Smith

Cultivating Firm-wide Success

Only 16 law firms are home to 5 or more BTI Client Service All-Stars. These firms account for 109 BTI Client Service All-Stars—suggesting a strong culture of client service which is more dominant than at other firms. 13 of these law firms are also singled out by clients in the BTI Client Service A-Team 2017, appearing on this year’s BTI Client Service 30. These 16 firms are:

 9 BTI Client Service All-Stars:

  • Dentons
  • Reed Smith

8 BTI Client Service All-Stars:

  • BakerHostetler
  • Jones Day
  • Sidley Austin
  • Skadden

7 BTI Client Service All-Stars:

  • Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Latham & Watkins

6 BTI Client Service All-Stars:

  • DLA Piper
  • Foley & Lardner
  • Ogletree Deakins

5 BTI Client Service All-Stars:

  • Cooley
  • Faegre Baker Daniels
  • Holland & Knight
  • Morgan Lewis

We congratulate each and every BTI Client Service All-Star on their ability to deliver the absolute best client service. Click here to see every attorney we celebrate for client service excellence as measured by the one source who matters most—clients.

MBR

GCs Name 312 Attorneys Absolutely Best at Client Service

312 attorneys stand out as absolutely best at client service. Not just great—but head and shoulders above the rest as defined solely by clients. These are the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2016.

The class of 2016 BTI Client Service All-Stars is especially impressive. Corporate counsel are the most demanding they have ever been. Approximately 25% to 30% of clients are using new measures and metrics to evaluate their outside counsel. Yet, these BTI Client Service All-Stars rise above and beyond the challenge.

No attorney or firm can self-nominate, self-refer nor pay to be included. The only possible avenue for becoming a BTI Client Service All-Star is for corporate counsel to identify an attorney who stands out—above all the others—for delivering superior client service, in an unprompted manner. Only clients select and decide.

Highlights from the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2016 include:

All-Star MVPs—Named by Corporate Counsel in Consecutive Years:

One attorney has been named a BTI Client Service All-Star for a stunning 14 years:

  • H. Rodgin Cohen, Senior Chairman, Sullivan & Cromwell

3 All-Stars have been named more than 5 consecutive years in a row:

  • Leslie A. Lanusse, Partner, Adams and Reese—6 years

  • Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Partner, Seyfarth Shaw—5 years

  • Jeffrey N. Ostrager, Partner, Curtis—5 years

In all, only 61 attorneys—a mere 19% of the All-Stars—are making repeat appearances. Corporate counsel report these MVPs remain at the top of their game, continuously navigating the ever-changing currents of the client service tide.

Super All-Stars—Attorneys Named by Multiple Clients This Year:

The number of Super All-Stars has more than doubled from last year. The 9 Super All-Stars for 2016 are:

  • M. Hill Jeffries, Partner, Alston & Bird

  • Ethan A. Klingsberg, Partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

  • Peter J. Eyre, Partner, Crowell & Moring

  • Richard D. Truesdell, Jr., Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell

  • James B. Manley, Jr., Partner, Dentons

  • Jacob D. Bylund, Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels

  • Michael J. Solecki, Partner, Jones Day

  • Roy Bash, Practice Chair, Polsinelli

  • James B. Aronoff, Partner, Thompson Hine

Cultivating Firm-wide Success:

Only 8 law firms are home to 5 or more BTI Client Service All-Stars. These firms account for 52 BTI Client Service All-Stars—suggesting a culture of client service which is more dominant than at other firms. 7 of these law firms are also singled out by clients in the BTI Client Service A-Team 2016, appearing on this year’s BTI Client Service 30. These 8 firms are:

• Jones Day 8 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom 8 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Dentons 7 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• BakerHostetler 6 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher 6 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Mayer Brown 6 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Reed Smith 6 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Morgan Lewis 5 BTI Client Service All-Stars

7 firms outside the top 200 largest firms are home to multiple BTI Client Service All-Stars with 18 total All-Stars:

• Arnall Golden Gregory 3 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Bass, Berry & Sims 2 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Burke, Williams & Sorensen 2 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Epstein Becker Green 2 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Jones Walker 3 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary 3 BTI Client Service All-Stars
• Sherman & Howard 3 BTI Client Service All-Stars

We congratulate each and every BTI Client Service All-Star on their ability to stand above all others in the court of client service.

MBR

6 Secrets to Becoming an All-Star

You may think you have what it takes to be a Client Service All-Star, but clients—the only true judge of client service excellence—are the gatekeepers to this exclusive list.

Each year, BTI interviews more than 300 corporate counsel to identify the individual attorneys best at delivering superior client service. Clients provide their feedback unprompted—meaning BTI doesn’t provide a list of law firm or attorney names; we simply ask them “Who provides you with the absolute best service?”

BTI’s Client Service All-Stars, currently in its 13th year, tracks exactly why clients single out one attorney over another.

6 Secrets to Becoming a BTI Client Service All-Star

1.  Client Focus Reigns Supreme
There is no faster way to earn client loyalty than providing truly client-focused service. The trick lies in understanding how the client defines client focus. Hint: it’s not about providing them with the best legal advice. More than half of the BTI Client Service All-Stars earn recognition through their unequivocal dedication to client focus.

Next time you start a matter, ask yourself these questions to check your client focus alignment:

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Client Service Leaders Boxing Out the Competition

Law firms whose clients see them as being best in client service enjoy:

♦  30% higher profitability
♦  7% rate premiums across all staff levels
♦  35% higher client retention

Despite these convincing numbers, few attorneys truly shine for their dedication to client service delivery. In BTI’s much anticipated release of The BTI Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firms 2013, clients name 307 attorneys for their client service excellence.

Breaking onto this list – and earning clients’ unprompted nominations – becomes more difficult as past Client Service All-Stars hold strong to their positions as client service leaders.

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Client Service Slugfest: Battle of the Heavyweights

Today’s law firms are on the ropes. Fierce competition and ever-increasing client expectations force law firms to bob, weave, jab, parry and counterpunch just to stay in the fight. Not surprising, client satisfaction rates have taken a hit and few law firms prove they have the discipline and agility required to reclaim clients’ hearts and be client service heavyweights.
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